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Manlin Jin, Ernesto Barron, Shikun He, Stephen J. Ryan, David R. Hinton; Regulation of RPE Intercellular Junction Integrity and Function by Hepatocyte Growth Factor. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(8):2782-2790.
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purpose. To evaluate the effect of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) on the integrity and function of tight junctions and adherens junctions in the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) monolayer.
methods. Fresh bovine eyes were dissected to obtain 2- to 3-mm2 explants of intact RPE with underlying choroid and sclera. Explants were cultured with or without HGF (20 ng/mL) for various periods (20 minutes to 72 hours). Junction integrity was assessed by transmission and scanning electron microscopy; localization, expression, and phosphorylation of junction proteins; and measurement of transepithelial resistance (TER), diffusion of fluorescent labeling in the plasma membrane, and the migration of RPE cells from the monolayer.
results. Untreated explants consisted of polarized cells with apical microvilli and well-developed tight and adherens junctions. After HGF treatment, the explants showed loss of tight and adherens junctions ultrastructurally, diffusion of fluorescent label from apical to lateral membrane domains, and increased chemotactic migration of RPE cells from the monolayer. Primary cultures of confluent RPE cells showed a progressive decrease in TER. Western blot analysis showed rapid tyrosine phosphorylation of ZO-1, occludin, and β-catenin within 20 minutes of stimulation. There was a marked loss of ZO-1 protein within 1 hour of HGF treatment. After 6 hours of treatment with HGF, occludin, claudin-1, and β-catenin were redistributed from the membrane to the cytoplasm.
conclusions. Treatment of RPE explants with HGF results in rapid disassembly of tight and adherens junctions associated with loss or redistribution of junctional proteins, decreased TER, and increased migration of RPE cells from the monolayer.
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